NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Twenty thousand runners had 20,000 different reasons for participating in Sunday’s New York City Half-Marathon.

Regina Romaine told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller she was running the 13.1-mile race to remember her swimming coach at NYU, who died two years ago. She said she raised about $2,300 for the colon cancer division at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

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“She’s going to be on my mind, and all my friends who are supporting me,” Romaine said.

She added that the best part of the half-marathon is running through Times Square without any traffic.

“So much fun,” Romaine said.

Runners raised more than $2 million for different charities.

NYC Half-Marathon runners wait at the starting line on March 16, 2014. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

NYC Half-Marathon runners wait at the starting line on March 16, 2014. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Sara said running the race was something she could not physically do just a few years ago. “I lost 250 pounds, and this is just incredible,” she said.

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Mary Wittenberg, president of the New York Road Runners, the half-marathon’s organizer, said Sara’s story is one of the reasons she loves her job.

“When people start running and walking and moving and getting fitter, it’s incredible what it can do for them, and it really can often unlock all this potential in their lives,” Wittenberg said.

Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai won the race to go with his titles in the last two New York City Marathons.

Mutai completed the half-marathon in 1 hour, 50 seconds. Double Olympic track champion Mo Farah tripped and fell between the fifth and sixth mile and finished in 1:01:07. The British star is preparing for his first marathon in London next month.

Kenya’s Stephen Sambu was third, a second behind Farah.

In the women’s race, Kenya’s Sally Kipyego set an event record of 1:08:31 in her debut at the distance. Ethiopia’s Buzunesh Deba, who lives in the Bronx, was second in 1:08:59. American Molly Huddle was third in 1:09:04.

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